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Fiscal Policy in New EU Member States – Go East, Prudent Man!

Listed author(s):
  • Ondrej Schneider
  • Jan Zápal

The European Union (EU) accepted ten new member states (NMS) in 2004. These countries, mostly former socialist countries, have had to adjust their economic policies to the EU’s standards. Perhaps most difficult has proven to be fiscal policy whereby NMS must comply with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) rules. Indeed, six out of the ten NMS have breached the SGP limits and were put in Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). While the SGP is being modified, fiscal policy is set to remain on the agenda for all NMS in years to come. In this paper, we analyze fiscal policy in the NMS, focusing primarily on the time period that immediately preceded their EU accession. We analyse the structure and scale of these countries’ fiscal policy and identify main trends in revenues and expenditures of their public budgets. We then explore dynamics of fiscal policy in the new member states and isolate main factors of the dynamics. Namely, we show how much of the consolidations was due to the fiscal authorities’ effort and how much was caused by external factors. We also show that most NMS governments have run a rather inconsistent fiscal policy and have not consolidated their budgets appropriately by postponing politically difficult consolidation measures. However, we also identify a group of countries characterised by strong reform efforts and responsible fiscal policy-making, supported usually by strong economic growth. In this context, room is given to economic, as well as political economy factors.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1486.

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Date of creation: 2005
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1486
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  1. C. John McDermott & Robert F. Wescott, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Fiscal Adjustments," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(4), pages 725-753, December.
  2. Fatás, Antonio & Rose, Andrew K, 2001. "Do Monetary Handcuffs Restrain Leviathan? Fiscal Policy in Extreme Exchange Rate Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 2692, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. European Commission, 2013. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2013 edition," Taxation trends 2013, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  4. Orban, Gabor & Szapary, Gyorgy, 2004. "The Stability and Growth Pact from the perspective of the new member states," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 839-864, October.
  5. Hallerberg, Mark & Strauch, Rolf & von Hagen, Jurgen, 2007. "The design of fiscal rules and forms of governance in European Union countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 338-359, June.
  6. European Commission, 2004. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2004 edition," Taxation trends 2004, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  7. Yan Sun, 2003. "Do Fixed Exchange Rates Induce More Fiscal Discipline?," IMF Working Papers 03/78, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Jürgen von Hagen & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Rolf Strauch, 2001. "Budgetary Consolidation in EMU," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 148, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  9. Martin Gregor, 2004. "Governing Fiscal Commons in the Enlarged EU," Working Papers IES 56, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised 2004.
  10. Gleich, Holger, 2003. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Central and Eastern European countries," Working Paper Series 215, European Central Bank.
  11. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 210-248, June.
  12. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert E & Diba, Behzad T, 2001. "Fiscal Discipline and Exchange Rate Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 667-690, October.
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